Blossom Afternoon at Days Cottage, Sunday 24th April 2022

Blossom Afternoon at Days Cottage Orchard & Rural Skills Centre, Sunday 24th April 2022 1.00pm-4.00pm

Brookthorpe near Gloucester dayscottage.co.uk

Come and enjoy our orchards in blossom – picnic under the trees and immerse yourself in the fragrance of apple blossom. Help us celebrate springtime in our traditional orchards and their biodiversity.

Apple juice, cider, perry, orchard honey and trees for sale. Hot spiced apple juice and home made cakes. Orchard information and live music.

Limited parking in field.

Dave Kaspar and Helen Brent-Smith are very knowledgeable about orchards, so full of advice!

Growing and Training Fruit in Small Spaces course, Thursday 18 August 2022

At Sue Gibson School of Gardening, May Cottage, Slimbridge.

Growing and Training Fruit in Small Spaces course on Thursday 18 August 2022.

Cost £75 including lunch (10% discount to GOT members).

Sue Gibson School of Gardening. https://www.iteachgardening.co.uk/

For details/to book email: info@iteachgardening.co.uk

2022 DNA fingerprinting scheme for apples, pears and cherries launched

The DNA Fingerprinting Scheme for apples, pears and cherries in 2022 (the 7th year of the scheme) has been launched, and is open to anyone who wants their fruit tree to be fingerprinted.

The scheme is run with NIAB-EMR at East Malling in Kent providing DNA analysis through their laboratory and submissions co-ordinated by Peter Laws of fruitID.com.

The charge will be £27.60 plus VAT per sample.

if you have an apple, pear or cherry tree that you would like to be fingerprinted, and identified if it matches the fingerprint of a known cultivar, you will first need to complete a sample bag request form and return it to Peter Laws as soon as you can. Bags will be sent out in May and June.  No money is required at this stage.

Samples need to be submitted from mid-May to the end of June.  There are details of scheme and the sample bag request form on the help page of fruitID.com, https://www.fruitid.com/index.html#help

Or you can access the relevant documents directly with the links below:

A busy winter for Tim

Tim Andrews is always busy.  A dad of two, teacher, GOT committee member and owner of Orchard Revival Cider, it is not hard to fill every spare minute. Below is his summary of orchard activities so far this winter!

Pocketts Orchard, WhitminsterWe have continued to work with Cotswold Canals Connected to look after and restore the traditional orchard at Whitminster next to the canal. A particular highlight was the talk given by Jonathan Briggs, a previous GOT chair, about mistletoe. Nearly all the old trees have their yearly prune and we have cleared quite a bit of excess brambles. We await the results of the DNA testing that took place in the autumn and we hope to do some more grafting at the start of March. There is a lot planned in the summer such as fencing and building a field shelter which should allow us to control the grazing better. Work parties are held on the 2nd Saturday of every month. Please contact Peter Savage peter.savage@gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk if you’d like to join us.

Tree plantingWe managed to squeeze in some more tree planting on our own land this winter. Another 24 takes us to 358 trees and 131 varieties all on full standard root stocks. Being well watered in the first year of planting we have only lost 1 tree! However, there was little growth due to the dry summer we had last year and also because I hadn’t mulched enough. There is never enough time to do it all! We have also led the creation of a new community orchard at the Ionian, a wood fired pizza restaurant on the A38 near Berkeley. We donated the trees, led the planting session and the Ionian is providing the land and paying for the guards. The pizza, cake and coffee provided certainly energised the volunteers.

PruningOnly a couple of orchards beyond Pocketts orchard managed to get pruned this year. These were a lovely old cider orchard in Halmore and a small orchard in North Nibley. I would have liked to have done more, but my teaching job gets in the way!

Bird boxesThe best bit about being a teacher is the children. This year a group of students in my year group were really keen to do something to improve the environment at my school Katharine Lady Berkeley’s School. So we held a raffle and have raised enough money to buy the materials for 4 blue tit nesting boxes, 1 kestrel box, 14 swift boxes and a sound system to attract the swifts. The students’ next job is constructing the boxes and erecting them on the school site. I am also working with a bird expert in our village, Peter Kirmond. We are hoping to turn North Nibley into a swift hub by erecting lots of swift nesting boxes. For each bottle or pint of our Save Our Swift cider we donate 20p towards the cause.

GraftingWe are also running a number of grafting workshops thanks to a Farming in Protected Landscapes grant. Martin Hayes and David Lindgren, our joint GOT chairs, will be on hand to help to. We’ll be at North Nibley on 1st March, Avening on 8th March and Hazleton on the 14th March. Email Martin if you are interested in attending martin@glosorchards.org.

Tim Andrews  https://orchardrevival.co.uk/

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Grafting courses at Days Cottage, March 6th and 17th 2022

Days Cottage are running two grafting courses in March:

– Sunday 6th March 10.00am – 1.00pm
– Thursday 17th March 10.00am – 1.00pm

Learn the skill of propagating fruit trees by inserting a scion of your chosen variety into a rootstock.

Take your tree home at the end of the session.

Booking essential.

Cost £40.00

To book please contact applejuice@dayscottage.co.uk or 01452 813602

More info at http://dayscottage.co.uk/courses

Traditional Orchard for sale near Hereford

This is, as we understand it, an historic orchard planted in the 1930s for Bulmers.

It is a traditional mixed variety orchard, and a perfect opportunity for an orchard enthusiast/group to restore and conserve

Selling Agent is Sunderlands. Their opening description is below:

Traditional orchard next to Adams Hill, Breinton, Hereford, HR4 7PB.

Summary of features:

– Approx. 2.53 acres (1.024 ha)
– Good roadside access
– Traditional cider orchard
– For sale by Informal Tender

Offers to be received by 17 February 2022

Longney Pruning Workshops, February and March 2022

Update:  Sorry, 14th March workshop is now fully booked and 7th March workshop has been cancelled.

Martin Hayes is leading a series of informal pruning workshops at GOT’s lovely Longney Orchard (south of Gloucester by the River Severn).

These are for GOT members only.   Cost will be £10 per head.

Please book one session (booking essential) through Ann Smith ann@smithcovell.co.uk who can advise on payment methods.  You can also pay via this PayPal button:


If you pay by PayPal please also email Ann with details of which session you’re booking.

Dates: Mondays 14 February, 7 March, 14 March.  Noon-3pm

Martin will go through Health and Safety and we would need everyone to sign in with an emergency contact phone number please. Bring own tools, gloves and boots. Martin is very knowledgeable and there’s always something to learn and share. Stone fruit will not be pruned – only May to September on dry days for plums and cherries to reduce the chance of silver leaf disease.

We look forward to seeing you! If you are not a member and would like to attend, please join GOT at https://glosorchards.org/home/join-us-got-membership/

If you are a community orchard group you get a year’s free membership. Please enquire via Ann.

 

 

New Traditional Orchard at Wallsworth Hall- fruitful collaboration in action!

Wallsworth Hall, an imposing C18 house, just north of Gloucester at Twigworth, is home to one of the UK’s most important national charities promoting conservation through the medium of art – in all its many forms. Established in 1988, Nature in Art (N in A) is now a unique centre, with an expanding membership and visitor base.  It is dedicated, among other aims, to show how the visual and aesthetic qualities of art can help support ecology and encourage participation in realising common objectives.

The large garden area surrounding Wallsworth Hall provides space for many sculptures and a site for a busy Education Centre with outreach work with schools, art groups and visiting artists in residence. The garden is also very popular with visitors, with circular walks and picnic places, and it has an excellent range of wildlife. However, the far end of the garden had been left largely untouched and had become overgrown and inaccessible.  N in A’s Trustees decided to restore this area – of around a 1/4 acre – by establishing a small orchard of local varieties of apples to supplement some older fruit trees around the partially walled boundary.

Following enquiries from N in A’s staff, contact with the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust (GOT) was made which led to discussions on how plans for the new orchard could be made and put in train. GOT (and N in A) member Keith Turner agreed to collaborate with N in A Director Simon Trapnell and the Education Officer Catherine Bunn in drawing up practical plans. These included using N in A volunteers first, to clear, by hand, the area of its jungle of briars, nettles and invasive elder; and then to prepare the new area for planting up to 15 fruit trees, mainly apples. The emphasis would be on heritage varieties – a mixture of culinary, cider and dessert types, which would be sourced from GOT member Rob Watkins’ Lodge Farm Trees nursery near Berkeley.  A mix of native grass and wildflower seed will be broadcast under the trees to augment the existing flora and so form a natural sward under the trees for wildlife conservation, especially habitat for bees, butterflies and moths.

Sufficient ground was ready by autumn 2019 for the first trees to be planted, but continued wet conditions delayed planting until early 2020. These trees soon established and made good growth in 2020. Meanwhile, the remainder of the area was prepared for clearing and planting which took place the following winter.  Consisting of grafts on M25, MM106 and MM111 rootstocks, all were local Gloucestershire or regional Three Counties varieties/cultivars. Examples include Ashmeads Kernel, Longney Russet, Arlingham Schoolboy, Yellow Willy etc.  One perry pear has also been included in the mix for a special spot in the new orchard.

The plantings were completed in early 2021 with a total of 16 trees well established, but leaving a legacy of further work by N in A volunteers to maintain the new orchard over the next few years. There was, very likely, an earlier orchard at Wallsworth Hall which would have provided fruit for the house and its residents. So it’s very satisfying that the new trees will restore these links and again be part of the future history of this lovely house.

Keith Turner  6/1/22

More information on Nature in Art: Located at Twigworth off the A38, near Gloucester GL2 9PA.  https://natureinart.org.uk/

Government Cider Tax Consultation – a risk to Traditional Orchards

This has been a hot topic in the cider and perry community since the budget and has caused understandable anxiety for smaller scale producers.

The issue is whether there will be changes to the existing 70hL (7000l) cider exemption from taxation.  This tax relief has helped conserve orchards, encourage small cider and perry makers (and has saved HMRC a great deal of administration!).

Any changes to that exemption could make small scale production uneconomic – which would have knock-on effects for traditional orchards.

Several GOT committee members who make cider and perry have lobbied their MPs to urge them to keep the system unchanged (ie tax low and paperwork simple).

The Government has issued a consultation paper – with responses required this month (January 2022).

GOT intends lobbying on behalf of cider producers and for the well-being of traditional orchards.

If you are able to write to your MP or complete the consultation, please let us know.

Do note that the consultation, as it stands, advocates no change to the current cut-off and a streamlining of the ‘cliff-edge’ if/when small producers pass the cut-off – see wording from paragraph 4.37 in the consultation (reproduced below).  This is encouraging but isn’t definite, and the proposals are complex, so this shouldn’t put people off writing in to support the status quo and express their views on changes. We need to maximise support for this.

4.37 The Government intends this to build on and not replace the existing exemption for small cidermakers, as the transition at 70hL has been identified as an impediment to growth. Small cidermakers below this level will continue to be exempt from the requirement to register and therefore pay no excise duty. However, once cidermakers exceed this level, the Government proposes to give them a full rebate of the excise duty that would have otherwise been payable, to remove the existing distortionary ‘cliff-edge’. This rebate will only be available to cidermakers who produce less than the maximum threshold for the small producer relief as a whole.

The consultation deadline is 30 January 2022.  Do let us know if you need any advice on what it all means and what should be said!

The consultation webpage, with details of how to respond, is at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-new-alcohol-duty-system-consultation

Direct link to the consultation document is https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1028702/20211026_Alcohol_Duty_Review_Consultation_and_CFE_response.pdf

Thank you!

1 2